The rise in popularity of cash rebate for credit card expenditure is something you might not have expected 5-10 years ago. Back in the days of credit card rewards points, hearing aunties exchange tales of the last “super worth it” gift they redeemed was the norm.
But just over a short span of time, the consumer finance market has seen a fierce battle erupt on the cash rebate front, with banks all vying for wallet space in an era where people are more prone to cancelling credit cards than ever before. As a testament to that increase in popularity, the cash rebate credit cards section on MoneySmart.sg already accounts for more than 10% of overall traffic going to the credit cards page and its various sub-sections.
I Still Can’t Believe This Exists – The ANZ Optimum World MasterCard
I couldn’t think of anything else to entitle this section because in the realm of cash rebate cards, a credit card that allows you to earn 5% cash rebate with no cap on how much rebate you can accrue is, well, generally unheard of. This card is peculiar in the sense that you first accrue Optimum$, which is akin to reward points schemes that other banks have, but the difference here is that these Optimum$ are accrued primarily for the purpose of cash rebates.
For all intents and purposes, this is a cash rebate credit card. Since the card’s launch, people have quickly gravitated towards the idea of an unlimited cash rebate as it’s proven to be extremely popular so far.
As credit card product offerings have evolved over time, what has changed are the specific cash rebate benefits that banks started to offer with their credit cards. There are now credit cards specifically for petrol rebates, grocery shopping, online shopping, and the list goes on.
But a lot of these cards tend to have certain limitations on their benefits, either in terms of imposing a minimum spend, or capping off the high cash rebate rate at a certain point. So while people may flock to certain cards because of their lifestyle habits, there is still a certain cap on the benefits they enjoy even if it does take less spending to get the maximum rebate.
But that has all changed with the ANZ Optimum Card.
Because of this, I must admit that, firstly, I have never ever stared so long at a full document of a credit card’s Terms & Conditions before. My usual modus operandi would be to just search for a particular term I’m looking for, but this was just something I had to check out in full detail. I did uncover certain interesting aspects of the product which I will share later, but secondly, I don’t usually write rave reviews about any financial product under the sun, paid or not.
But I’m genuinely in an emotional dilemma right now about whether to ditch my current credit card and sign up for the ANZ Optimum Card. The honest truth is that this is coming from someone who up until last year refused to use anything other than a debit card for purchases. But as I said already, this is really something else.
How The Card Works
The ANZ Optimum Card aims to help consumers optimize their savings by breaking down the cash rebate categories into 4 main areas of expenditure: Dining & Leisure, Travel, Shopping and Groceries. The classification of a merchant where you have spent money is dependent on the Merchant Classification Code (MCC), but by and large if you aren’t purchasing items from some weird, dodgy, place, the 4 categories are relatively straightforward. Dining, however, does not include wedding dinners.
Every 25th of the month before the start of the next calendar quarter, you just have to choose which category of expenditure you would like to allocate your 5% cash rebate to. You will also earn 1% cash rebate on everything else.
How Should You Be Using This Card
This section isn’t so much about who should be using the card, but more of how you should be using it. Segmenting the cash rebate into 4 categories does require some effort on the user’s part to determine where their main expenditure points are going to be within a quarter, but once that is done, you’re all set. Nothing’s stopping you from keeping the same category the entire year either, as long as you select the same category for the proceeding quarter.
Here are some other specific situations where you might choose to change category:
If you are taking an extended vacation, be it with your family or even by yourself, getting 5% cash rebate without any limit on your journey isn’t a bad thing. If you happen to be travelling to multiple cities, getting 5% cash rebate for all your different flights is a great way to save some money on what is otherwise going to be a rather expensive outing.
Planning on going nuts during the Great Singapore Sale? Just happen to have a huge bunch of birthdays to attend during a particular quarter of the year? This is a great time to change your chosen cash rebate category especially since the shopping is usually split into multiple purchases so you can fully enjoy the unlimited 5% cash rebate.
Dining & Leisure
Leisure expenditure encompasses things like the booking of hotels, so if in the case of your family vacation you happen to be just taking one flight and city-hopping, booking your various hotels with this card is a no-brainer, allowing you to get 5% cash rebate every time you book your accommodation.
As for dining, you don’t have to worry about when you spend, or even where you spend, as the card doesn’t differentiate your cash rebate based on weekeday/weekend dining, nor does it distinguish local and overseas spend. So essentially, you can dine literally anywhere without having to worry about which tier of cash rebates you’re getting. I’m glad I don’t have to explain any more how much simpler this is.
Grocery shopping never ends, but especially during the CNY and Christmas period where hosting meals tend to increase in frequency, this might be a good time to opt for the Grocery option if you are going to be playing host more often than you are going to be the one visiting. This is especially useful given that a lot of co-branded cards only reward you for spending at specific supermarkets. Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
What is also important to take note of are two things which I picked up on in the T&Cs:
- There is a cap in terms of Optimum$ awarded per transaction of 30 Optimum$. What this means is that if you are earning 5% cash rebates, the maximum you can spend per transaction is $600 before you stop earning Optimum$. However, it’s important to remember that you can spend $600 as many times as you want and there is no cap on how many Optimum$ you can earn.
- Awarding of Optimum$ are rounded down to the nearest 0.1 so what this means is that, let’s say, for a $19 transaction earning 1% cash rebate , you won’t get 0.19 Optimum$ but 0.1 Optimum$ instead. Of course in the grand scheme of things, if you are utilizing this card correctly, this shouldn’t really matter all that much, because as a whole, you should be using this card for a larger volume of purchases i.e. what you would be spending your money on the most.
To really fully take advantage of the card’s 5% cash rebate’s benefits, you would naturally have to be spending a significant amount of money in order to really benefit, which could explain the $80,000 minimum annual income needed. But if you qualify and are looking for a cash rebate card, there is truly no better cash rebate card if you are regularly spending a lot on the above categories. If you are interested in the ANZ Optimum Card, you can easily apply here.
This article was brought to you by ANZ Bank.